Michael Somoroff’s 1983 portrait of Brassaï

I’m haunted by contemporary city life – the millions of parallel lives occupying the same square miles. Christopher Nevinson entitled one of his most striking paintings, The Soul of The Soulless City, and I was thinking about this recently.

But then I came across this poem by the Victorian poet, Emily Pfeiffer, about whom I know very little. Haunting is the word. It is an elusive poem, resonant of those stark words of novelist Julian Barnes, “I don’t believe in God, but I miss him.” In particular, I was very struck by the notion of a temple in search of a god. That is truly contemporary city life.

So it needed a secular temple to accompany it. Brassaï’s Grand Central Station seemed the perfect fit.

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